Manufactured Lifelogging

Donna Bogatin writes

“Lifelogging extracts a heavy price: While people perceive they are enhancing their experiences by capturing ephemeral moments for a lifetime, they are actually depriving themselves of fully living each important moment.”

Something I have been considering lately.

Manufactured reality takes many forms. When we were looking for a wedding photographer we visited a popular studio. All the weddings looked exactly the same! Group shot jumps in the air. Bride and groom smiling at each other sipping champagne. Bridal party does the lady bump. I was horrified. The photographer was imposing the experience upon the wedding party. When we found somebody we liked our strict instructions were “candid please”. We wanted the day to flow naturally and for the photos to reflect the real experience! Great photos too!

Technology and media can add value to they way I live. But I hope I never live my life as a manufactured reality persuaded by the influence of technology. Lifelogging has the capacity to do both.

Perhaps my experience having an brother with Asperger’s who has a particular knack for gaming has given me an appreciation for what technology can do to help people express themselves, but also see the potential for technology to become all-consuming. Which reminds me, I met a guy at the Aquarium on the weekend. He was adjusting his artificial leg and telling me how it was his first time out in months after a bungled operation. He was there with an international gathering of XBox Live players and heading down to the pub for lunch. Technology had transformed his dreary three months of pain to an opportunity of meeting with people around the world. He told me stories of people with a common interest sharing their lives over gaming and webcams.

Looking forward exploring this area of lifelogging where reality collides with technology a little further…

10 thoughts on “Manufactured Lifelogging

  1. sagart

    wonderwebby,

    so lifeblogging (lifing) you reckon hey?

    cynicism is a fine line; at the risk of sounding narrow-minded and/or uncreative, lifing runs awfully close to bordering on pointlessness.

    let’s assume i’m lifing; what’s my motivation in doing so? is it an elaborate on-line diary? why on-line then? is the point i share my 24/7/365 aspects of my life to a greater audience? id so does anyone care?

    i can see practical benefits in a scenario where clearly defined information captured frequently (or at least information conforming to a boundary either loosely or tightly defined), can then be used in decision making, or as input to achieve a certain output. eg, constant capturing of patient information that can then be used to analyse whatever the case might be – patient care, etc.

    the mind wanders to many applicable uses.

    but my life? my *profound* thoughts? hmmmm…

    there’s no doubt the trendy technorati amongst us will adopt lifing, and inundate us with twitter like follower requests (there’s that cynicism creeping in) only because it’s the trendy thing to do. i do think it would be fun, but give me a week and kapoot. asta lavista. yesterday’s hero – yes i am singing the song :) booooooriing!

    manufacturing lifing – kill me if i ever get to that point – i do not want to die a slow e-death. unplug me right there and then, and lets move to them hills down yonder.

    photographers taking prefab’d snaps? i know wher ur coming from. i want snaps (and this includes blogs, webs, 2.0’s, lifing’s, that capture my reality, like a great piece of art does. a snapshot in time, that shows, tells, and screams of all the emotions of the moment, being experienced at the moment, not because it’s being snap’d, but because its being lived, and it just happened to be snap’d (snap’d = captured).

    do great artist paint because they want to draw something on canvas? or do they use the canvas to capture a point in time, and through it, invoke an emotion on unsuspecting viewers, invoke thoughts, and feelings, and allow viewers of the art to partake in the captured mooment? immerse themselves in it, and imagine what the reality of the moment might have been like. even transcend into the mind and heart and soul of the artist him/herself? obviously the latter.

    sag

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  3. justinstrickland

    Actually in response to sag’s question. Capturing the moment has become somewhat of an outdated idea in contemporary art. Concept and forethought have become much more highly regarded when one is speaking about “great” artists. Now in the art historical sense of the word great artists did sometimes like the idea of capturing the moment. The impressionists were of this school of thought. Widespread staging and drawing from models was much more widespread when we refer to the “classical” era’s of art (i.e the renaissance, rococo, etc). Everything after the advent of the camera has more or less pushed toward abstraction. There are exceptions to every rule but Modernism was much more about the act of painting and about the paint itself and the surface. Postmodernism is even more so with the emphasis on minimalism and color and composition not so much on any one moment but the collision of many moments. These days it’s much more about building images than about capturing moments. That’s best left to the photographers, they have a much better tool for capturing moments.

    The fact of the matter is that all artists build images and create reality, even some of the great masters (Ingres, Velázquez, Caravaggio) used tools and lenses to create their masterpieces and make them more believeable. David Hockney has written a terrific book on the subject entitled; Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters. It’s wonderful and very inciteful. Incidentally this is why I was drawn to your post because this idea of manufacturing lifing is very interesting to think about. How many people do it? And what mundane things do they fabricate? It’s fun to think that nobody on the internet is who they say they are and that someone would go through the trouble to manufacture a fake mundane existence tickles me and makes me giggle.

  4. wonderwebby

    “It’s fun to think that nobody on the internet is who they say they are and that someone would go through the trouble to manufacture a fake mundane existence tickles me and makes me giggle.”

    Justin that made me laugh out loud.

  5. justinstrickland

    also don’t be surprised if a revised version of that ends up on my blog. That was some good ranting. I have added you to my bookmarks and eagerly await another entry.

  6. justinstrickland

    It does it’d be hilarious if bill’s blog from anyplace, Illinois was completely fabricated and it was filled with entries like “This morning I woke up and ate toast. I really like toast. It’s like twice cooked bread”. It’s genius.

  7. wonderwebby

    I imagine a manufactured lifelog/blog is more likely to have virtual Münchhausen ailments, fake job promotions, doctored ideas, fabricated children or have Bill the struggling grad from Illinois posing as a social uber-cool hipster corporate genius. A manufactured lifelog may be several people posing as one person.
    It’s the subconscious identity manipulation that I am even more interested in. So now I will have to post again!

    Sag thanks for comments. I guess a lot of people are already lifelogging without realising it, using Flickr to upload a visual record, blogging about their personal lives, tweeting events, uploading documents with their IP to google documents etc. So a synthesis of these into a lifelog isn’t too big a leap. The implications on privacy are huge, as is the notion of forgiven & forgotten memories. Who wants to remember everything? And although I know what you mean about enjoyable art sharing a mood and moment, even some of the great artists in history created fake portraits and altered reality :)

  8. justinstrickland

    I’m a big fan of notepad style ranting. Though I’m more of a word man myself. justinstrickland.wordpress.com if you’d like to see some of my own.

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